Privileged access management company, BeyondTrust is aiming to make waves in the local security market. Together with its distribution partner, Hemisphere Technologies, the vendor is making big investments in the channel.
BeyondTrust A/NZ regional manager, Nigel Hedges, and Hemisphere Technologies director, Peter Phokos, sat down with ARN to discuss the origins of the partnership and the plans both companies have for growth.
Hedges, while in his previous role at Hemisphere as general manager, sales and technical, said the two worked together on increasing the security focus of the distributor.
“Nigel and I came up with a business plan to be more of a boutique security-focused organisation to provide a comprehensive security solution for our partners and their end users. Since then we have brought on other vendors that complement BeyondTrust which was our first signing.
“It was the key signing for us because Nigel had identified that, from a security standpoint, it provided a good link between what our partners needed and where there was a void in the security focus locally.
“The partnership has blossomed since then because all of our offerings complement each other and there is very little overlay and BeyondTrust is at the forefront of driving that message through our channel.”
Hedges added that many of the traditional partners in the Hemisphere database were asking for solutions in addition to what the distributor was offering.
“We felt it was the right time, so we looked at the standards out there that guide security choices and, at that time, ISO 270001 [a specification for an information security management system] resonated in terms of a very general, all-purpose approach to best practice around security,” he said.
“We looked at it and knew we needed to make sure we covered all those bases. That was why our strategy was around no overlap, complementary technologies so that we could give a bigger picture. It has been fantastic from that perspective.”
In February 2015, Hedges moved back to vendor land after his appointment to his current role as regional manager for A/NZ at BeyondTrust.
“We have enjoyed a lot of contact and raising of profile in the market,” he explained.
“Having a local presence was the right thing for the relationship between BeyondTrust, Hemisphere and the partner community.
“Peter and I talked about it at length and decided that there was an absolute need to have a focus because the relationship between Pete’s team and the partners is very strong and we wanted to ensure that there was a link between BeyondTrust internationally and the local presence.
“Now BeyondTrust has achieved around 300 per cent growth in Asia-Pacific and A/NZ has been a big part of that. So much so that we are now bringing on more resources directly to BeyondTrust to support the channel and customers.”
Hedges elaborated by saying that the vendor was bringing on professional services and sales engineering staff in its Melbourne office to service the A/NZ region.
“We went from the early stages of creating brand awareness in the market because, on some level, part of the technology, the vulnerability management was late to market,” he explained.
“We have now reached a point that most people understand our proposition and the sheer amount of interest from people who want to engage and have a conversation about how the solution could fit in their environment across A/NZ has been too hard to keep up with, so we needed to increase our headcount.”
The two organisations have an exclusive distribution agreement in the local market and Phokos stressed that plans for the next stage of growth for both companies had been based on a collaborative process with investment from both sides.
“The plan is for us is to get a greater market share in the Australia,” he said.
“On the eastern seaboard alone, there is such a massive demand for security support from a sales and technical perspective.
“Hemisphere has recently opened our office in Melbourne, to support the southern region with both sales and technical. The team there will work hand-in-hand with Nigel and his team, who will also be based in Melbourne.
“Then it will be up to us to expand on that infrastructure to Western Australia where we have identified there is a real need for security solutions. That’s our plan for six to twelve months.
Hedges echoed Phokos’ sentiments and added that it was so important to have a strong distribution partnership to achieve sustainable growth.
“It is fair to say that we are expanding the reach, the relationship with Hemisphere has been a really positive one. As Hemisphere grow and do what they do, we will be a part of that,” he said.
Phokos added that, from a Hemisphere perspective, the areas targeted for expansion were not limited by vertical or or geographic location.
“There are a lot of our partners that focus on regional areas,” he explained.
“They often have more of a direct point of sale setup in the form of traditional shop fronts, where end users and SMBs tend to walk into a shop front and those partners then create their own security network. They are the kind of partners that we are trying to reach out to in those regional areas.
“We are also making a push into the metropolitan areas at the same time. It’s not about one or the other, it’s about being able to do both simultaneously. Hence the reason Hemisphere is constantly increasing our headcount in line with capability.
Phokos expanded on this by saying, as an organisation, it was important to grow at a sustainable rate.
“If you grow too fast you lose sight of that one on one contact with the partners,” he said.
“Our business development managers and technical people need to be more engaging with our partners and provide them that support one on one, so they know that we are there for them, backed by the support of our vendors.
“BeyondTrust, along with Kaspersky, already have a presence here to support us with that, but predominantly our vendors tend to rely on our infrastructure. BeyondTrust have now begun to invest in us and in the region because they see the value here as to what we do as a group.”
Hedges added that the procurement and the enablement driven by Hemisphere allowed the vendor to focus on its core messaging, which was that point solutions were useful but moving from a technology focus to a people focus was vital for security of any organisation, no matter the size.
“We are focusing very much on our IT risk management platform as being the beacon, and explaining that you drive risk optimisation and value out of having this dashboard,” he said.
“That adds value, rather than putting out a list of 200 vulnerabilities and saying to an IT manager that these are the things they need to go and fix, you can empower them.
“That messaging is what we are able to focus on now and leave the procurement and fulfillment to the experts.”
Hedges went on to say that the growth has, and will continue to be fuelled by the growth in requirements for privileged access management.
“It is by far the most common thing people are talking to us about,” he explained.
“Part of that strategy is release privilege, what we have is a situation where, in the mid 2000s, people got frightened off by this concept when Microsoft introduced UAC and the million and one prompts came up, it was a real productivity killer.
“We have swung around now so that the technology is driven by user interaction. Even if an organisation implements the technology, it is in listing mode to start with, so it is lead by privileged access management, with list privileges technology behind the scenes. That’s the reason why we are talking to some large organisations in federal government and enterprise about the two-pronged approach.”